Saturday, July 13, 2024

NSW Govt to introduce industrial manslaughter offence

The NSW Government has today announced it will introduce an industrial manslaughter offence in the state.

Minister for Work Health and Safety, Sophie Cotsis says the new laws will ensure the most serious work health and safety breaches carry a severe penalty, sending a clear message that those who place a worker’s life at risk will be held to account in the event of a workplace death.

“I hope these laws act as such a strong deterrent that no one ever needs to be prosecuted. We must prevent fatal injuries in the workplace,” she said.

“These penalties acknowledge the significant pain and suffering of families and loved ones of workers who have died in preventable workplace incidents.”

NSW is the last mainland state without an industrial manslaughter offence or legislation in parliament.

In February 2023, the former government, with other states and territories, agreed to amend model work health and safety laws to allow for jurisdictions to introduce industrial manslaughter.

Industrial manslaughter allows a corporation to be held liable for the death of a person caused by that corporation’s employees within the scope of their work. Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being.

SafeWork will begin an extensive consultation process which will include work health and safety experts, business groups, unions, legal stakeholders and families of people who have been killed at work.

The NSW Government will formally begin the consultation process in coming weeks and intends to introduce a bill to parliament in the first half of next year.

“Workers in NSW deserve the right to feel safe at work and these laws are designed to make the state’s workplaces safer,” said Minister Cotsis.

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